former President Donald Trump He was charged, possibly as part of an investigation the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office conducted years ago into hush payments.
The charges stem from the $130,000 paid by Trump’s then-attorney Michael Cohen to adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter. With Trump in 2006.
Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York chose not to charge Trump in connection with the Stormy Daniels payment in 2019, even as Cohen implicated him as part of a plea deal. The Federal Election Commission has also dumped its investigation into the matter in 2021.
Bragg, when he took over as Attorney General in January 2022, I stopped pursuing accusations against Trump and halted the investigation “indefinitely,” according to a senior prosecutor who resigned from the office in protest.
Prosecutors Mark Pomerantz and Carrie Dunn, who had been leading the investigation under former DA Cyrus Vance, resigned after Bragg began to raise doubts about pursuing a case against Trump.
Trump, earlier this month, cited reports, based on what he described as “illegal leaks,” that suggested he could be arrested on Tuesday, March 21. Trump posted about those reports on his TRUTH Social, making He prompted the House Judiciary Committee to intervene. He demands that Bragg testify before the committee.
Republican lawmakers and Trump allies have criticized the investigation as a political witch hunt and the “weaponization” of the attorney general’s office.
Bragg claimed, last week, that Trump “created a false expectation” that his arrest was imminent, citing the position of the former TRUTH Social chairman, and criticized the committee for conducting an “unprecedented investigation into a pending domestic trial.”
“The letter only came after Donald Trump made a false expectation that he would be arrested the next day, and his lawyers urged you to intervene,” Bragg wrote in a letter to the committee. “Neither facts are legitimate grounds for a congressional investigation.”
Last week, Robert Costello, former legal counsel to Michael Cohen, testified to a grand jury last Monday that Cohen was a “serial liar,” and testified that Trump did not know About the payments Cohen made to Daniels.
Then Bragg overturned grand jury proceedings related to the Trump investigation on Wednesday and Thursday.
Sources, at the time, told Fox News Digital that there was a “major disagreement” within the attorney general’s office. One source alleged that the prosecutor is having trouble convincing the grand jury of possible charges due to the “weakness” of the case.
Cohen, in 2018, was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges, including tax evasion, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations. Cohen pleaded guilty to arranging payments to Daniels and model Karen McDougal to prevent them from revealing alleged relationships with Trump, which Trump has repeatedly denied.
Cohen said Trump directed the payments — something the former president denied for years.
Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 through his private company and later reimbursed Trump’s company, which recorded the payments as “legal expenses”. McDougal received $150,000 through the publisher of the tabloid newspaper, the National Enquirer.
The Trump Organization “collected” Cohen’s compensation for Daniels’ payments “for tax purposes,” according to federal prosecutors who filed 2018 criminal charges against Cohen over the payments.
Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing regarding the payments made to Stormy Daniels, repeatedly saying the payments were “not a campaign violation”, but “a simple private transaction”.
Those payments were revealed for the first time In January 2018 a Wall Street Journal report said Cohen and Daniels’ attorneys had negotiated a non-disclosure agreement to prevent her from publicly discussing the alleged sexual relationship with Trump.
But at the time, Cohen, Trump, and even Stormy Daniels denied the arrangement.
In January 2018, Cohen said that an alleged encounter between Daniels and Trump was a rumor that had been circulating “since 2011”.
And in a letter dated January 10, 2018, obtained and reviewed by Fox News, Daniels also denied the allegations.
“I have recently become aware that some news outlets are claiming that I have been in a sexual and/or romantic relationship with Donald Trump for several years. I am stating very clearly that this is completely untrue,” Daniels wrote. “My involvement with Donald Trump has been limited to a few public appearances and nothing more.”
In the letter, Daniels wrote that when she met Trump, he was “gracious, professional, and a gentleman to me and everyone in my presence.”
“The rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false,” the letter said. “If I really had a relationship with Donald Trump, believe me, you wouldn’t read about it in the news, you would read about it in my book. But the fact of the matter is, those stories aren’t true.”
But in March 2018, Daniels changed her story. During an interview on CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” Daniels alleged that she had a one-time unprotected sexual encounter with Trump.
The charges against the former president come after the Federal Election Commission, in 2021, dropped its case on the same issue — examining whether Trump violated election law by making a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, after he “failed by a vote of 2-2 to find cause.” To believe that Donald J. Trump knowingly and knowingly violated Federal Election Law.
The investigation into Trump was opened in 2019 by then-Manhattan Attorney General Cyrus Vance. The investigation focused on possible bank, insurance and tax fraud. The case initially involved financial transactions of Trump’s Manhattan properties, including his flagship Fifth Avenue building, Trump Tower, and the valuation of his 213-acre estate, Seven Springs in Westchester.
The investigation, last year, led to tax fraud charges against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.
Weisselberg was accused of taking more than $1.7 million in unofficial damages, including apartment rent, car payments, and school fees.
Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty last year, was sentenced in January to five months in prison and five years probation. His testimony last year helped convict the Trump Organization of tax fraud.
Meanwhile, the charges against Trump come amid a separate and special counsel investigation into his alleged keeping of secret records from his presidency at his Mar-a-Lago home.
This past August, the FBI, in an unprecedented move, raided Trump’s private home in Mar-a-Lago iIn connection with an investigation into classified records the former president allegedly took with him from the White House.
Attorney General Merrick Garland subsequently appointed Jack Smith as special counsel to lead this investigation, and the Justice Department’s investigation into the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot – specifically whether Trump or other officials and entities interfered with the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 presidential election , including certification of the Electoral College vote on January 6, 2021.
President Biden is also currently under special counsel investigation for allegedly keeping classified records from the Obama administration. Former Vice President Pence also had classified records in his home – a matter under review by the Justice Department.
The charges against Trump also come as New York Attorney General Letitia James continues her years-long civil investigation into the Trump Organization to see if Trump and his company improperly overstated assets in financial statements in order to obtain loans and tax benefits.